Ezemvelo rangers’ weapons linked to crimes

Thu Mar 12, 2015 5:37 pm

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DAVE SAVIDES | 6 March 2015 15:00

ONOING testing of firearms issued to Ezemvelo KZN Wildlife rangers has positively linked five weapons to shooting incidents – which may include rhino poaching.The tests were initiated as far back as 2013 by the Richards Bay Organised Crime Unit (OCU), after the Zululand Observer sourced local engineers to manufacture two custom-built ballistic tanks into which bullets are fired.Water in the tanks causes the bullets to slow down and stop without being damaged, enabling accurate testing of bullet scoring against the rifle barrel markings.Previously having to send firearms to Pretoria for testing, with delays of months awaiting results, the OCU is able to do its own testing using the portable tanks at the scene of poaching and other crimes.‘The tanks enable this office to test fire firearms on location which results in cost and time saving,’ said Capt Renier van der Sandt of the KZN Forensic Science Laboratory.‘To date in excess of 4 000 firearms from Ezemvelo members and private game rangers have been tested using the tank.‘All test-fired bullets and cartridge cases were placed on the IBIS (Integrated Ballistics Identification System) for comparison against outstanding cases.‘Five of these tests were positively linked to shooting incidents where Ezemvelo members were involved. However, this is an ongoing process and tests are continuously compared and updated.’No details of the crimes were issued.